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Is the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) really going to change the role of accurate rockets in its war against terror attacks?
Traditionally, the IAF is responsible for suppressing any fire aimed from neighboring countries against civilian and military targets inside Israel. The development of very precise, low cost rockets by Israeli companies is an issue that was placed on the table some years ago. However, there was opposition from elements in the IAF which resulted in keeping the current situation. The opposition was based on the concern that any changes that might be made would result in a decrease of the IAF’s procurement budgets.
Until a few years ago the only precise rocket available to the IDF was the upgraded, trajectory corrected multi launch rocket system (MLRS) with a range of 45 km. Israel military industries (IMI) decided to change this situation and offer very accurate, low cost solutions.
The IMI concept is based on the company’s extended range artillery rockets like the Extra, which was jointly developed with Israel aerospace industries (IAI). The trajectory corrected long range rocket is aimed at replacing aircraft missions at a range of up to a 150 km. The Extra which is actually a guided missile, has a range of over 150 km and would replace air-ground weapons in medium and long range strikes. The Extra is 3.9 meters long and has a diameter of 30 cm. The total weight of the rocket is 430 kg including a 120 kg warhead.
As part of the new concept, IMI has developed a new launcher that can be used to launch different types of precise rockets. Other tools exist for the proposed close support, one of which is the Rafael Spike-NLOS with a range of 25 km.
There is another sign that something is happening within the IDF. The IDF’s artillery corps is now operating two types of unmanned air systems that are dedicated to their missions. The fact that the IAF lost its total exclusivity in operating UAS is without any doubt a sign of change.
There is no doubt that precise rockets, those that are known to exist and those that are yet under wraps, can do the job. The result is in the hands of the generals as the situation of threat continues to change. The growing threat of rockets and possible attack from Israel’s’ neighbors is a very pressing issue that needs to be addressed with determination.
Mr. Arie Egozi